In January of this year, Roger Federer, the world-renowned Swiss tennis star, earned an unprecedented 100th career match victory on the courts of the Australian Open in Melbourne. But his win came in uncharted territory for the veteran player: He played a 10-point tiebreaker—called a “superbreaker”—instead of the usual seven-pointer as a result of splitting the first two sets.
But what was unfamiliar to Federer is now old hat to Boston College tennis player Alexander Chieffalo. After splitting his first two sets with Brown University’s Roger Chou 7-5, 0-6 at No. 5 singles, the match went to the tennis equivalent of overtime. Chieffalo grinded out a narrow victory over Chou in the superbreaker, but unlike Federer, his win was somewhat inconsequential.
Before Chieffalo took the court, Brown (8-2) had already clinched a team win with victories in singles spots one through four to secure a 4-3 win over the Eagles despite BC (2-5, 0-3 ACC) winning the doubles point.
After Chieffalo’s triumphant win at No. 5 singles, Sean Mullins played what was essentially a consolation match, but another hard-nosed effort earned BC its third point of the night. Mullins beat Brown’s Matthew Mu 7-6, 7-6, but it wasn’t enough to salvage what the Eagles had lost in the first four spots.
Though the score in the singles matchups was lopsided, the effort was not. At No. 1 singles, Derek Austin, after losing his first set 4-6 to Jacob Walker, won the second frame with a decisive 6-2 count. But heading into the third set, Austin was in familiar territory and once again dropped the set to Walker, 4-6.
Max Motlagh was then served a hearty defeat by Brown’s Peter Litsky on the second singles court. The BC freshman dropped the match in two blowout sets, 6-2, 6-0. Veteran Eagle Javi Amantegui didn’t find any more success than his teammates who preceded him, though, and he lost at the No. 3 singles spot 2-6, 4-6 to Ching Lam. With Lam’s win, Brown needed just one more court to seal the team victory for the 10th year in a row.
And as Teddy van Eck made quick work of Max Mendelsohn in straight sets, Brown did just that. Mendelsohn lost to van Eck 0-6, 3-6 to essentially end the match with two courts left to play.
But even though BC struggled on the individual courts, it opened the match well on the team side with two doubles victories to earn the match’s first point and prevent a runaway victory for Brown. The duo of Amantegui and Mendelsohn opened the night with a 6-3 win at third singles over the pair of Walker and Mu.
After Litsky and van Eck took the second doubles court at 6-4 against the duo of Motlagh and Chris Grasel, it was up to the top pairing to keep the Eagles in contention.
And when the team needed them most, Austin and Mullins stepped up to secure the doubles point for the Eagles. In the second-closest contest of the night, the BC pair beat Lam and Chou 7-6 after a tiebreaker.
Despite the early momentum from the Eagles’ doubles courts, BC returns to Chestnut Hill with another disheartening loss under its belt. With two weeks to rest and regroup before the Eagles hit the road for the Pacific Coast Doubles Tournament, they will have to focus on the strength of their doubles teams to find success.
Featured Image by Maggie DiPatri / Heights Editor